Living the Loire Life!
Christmas Markets in France – 50 Things to do on a Gites in France holiday
You’ve rented a gite in France – what do you want to do?
Loire Life presents 50 things to see in the Loire Valley and Vendee regions of France.
Christmas Markets in France – (No 6)
Renting a Loire Valley gite in France in December maybe isn’t an obvious choice for a December break! However, choose to stay around the Saumur area at the start of December and you’ve found a great place to do your christmas shopping and satisfy the children – and without breaking the bank!
We just spent a great weekend getting into the festive spirit (literally) and visited a couple of great seasonal venues in Maine-et-Loire, France.
Doué-la-Fontaine, Loire Valley, France
Now in its 20th year this is a fantastic Christmas Market set in a warren of Troglodyte caves. The caves are filled with local artisans selling all manner of gifts and also a huge Christmas groto for the children – all for the entrance fee of €4 for adults. Children under 12 go free.
All the usual mulled wine, chestnut and hot food stalls are available, as well as the local delicacy ‘Fouées’ – a bit like a hot pitta bread filled with meats or chocolate.
The grotto was just fantastic, with scenes dedicated to Frozen and Ice Age, which the children loved and at the end Father Christmas, sat amongst Christmas trees in a huge cavern. And not a queue in sight!
An amazing place to find unique hand-made Christmas presents and let the children enjoy the Christmas experience.
Veuve Amiot Winery, Saumur, Loire Valley, France
Sunday included a visit to one of Saumur’s Sparkling Wine houses for its Christmas open day. We could have chosen from four or five other wineries, all having Christmas events – but we hadn’t been to Veuve Amiot before. (No relation to the Champagne of similar name!)
Here again were Christmas foods and handmade products, a christmas market within the wine cellars and specially laid on activities for the children. The price of entry? – Zero.
So while we tried (and bought) the Crémant de Loire and Saumur Brut sparkling wines our daughter enjoyed making and painting a snowman with the other children in the activity zone.
Activity throughout December
All through the run up to Christmas there are Christmas Markets and special winery open days all over the Loire Valley, and taking the Portsmouth – Caen or Le Havre crossings with Brittany Ferries means just a 2.5 hour drive in France to reach this great region!
It’s a great destination for a long weekend Christmas shopping trip. So grab yourself some gite or Chambre d’Hote accommodation in the Loire Valley and enjoy the Christmas spirit in this part of France!